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Gareth Southgate explains Manchester United stars’ decisions for England

by Marwan Harraz

England manager Gareth Southgate has opened up on his decisions surrounding Harry Maguire, Marcus Rashford, and Jadon Sancho.

The defender was handed a call-up while the latter two were ignored, much to the surprise of many.

According to the club’s official website, Southgate said: “I don’t think it ever crossed our minds not to select Harry Maguire for this squad.

“He’s been a key part of the starting XI that got us to a World Cup semi-final and a Euros final. There’s no doubt in my mind that he’s one of our best centre-backs.”

On Rashford he said: “It’s a difficult time for him. He’s clearly not at his best.

“We know a lot about Marcus anyway; we know what he can bring to us, and hopefully he can rediscover that form we know he’s capable of.”

Lastly he said on Sancho’s absence: “With the other attacking players in the squad, they are slightly ahead of him in our feeling.

“You can see the names there: Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling, Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith-Rowe, Jack Grealish… if you look at the seasons they’ve had [it is hard to leave them out].

“Jadon, without a doubt over the last few weeks, his performances have improved with Manchester United, but it’s an area of the field where we’ve got really big competition for places. And at the moment, we’ve got those guys slightly ahead.”

Some United fans have long felt Maguire is having a poor season and so to see him called up to his international side shocked many.

However, the centre-back has always performed well for his country so Southgate’s loyalty is somewhat understandable.

Rashford being dropped didn’t surprise anyone though as he hasn’t put in shifts that would have justified selection.

He might have benefitted from a change in scenery and a relaxed atmosphere as England’s March fixtures are both friendlies.

Sancho’s omission surprised fans as he’s been one of United’s brightest sparks of late but him staying put can be a good thing.

After all, there’s less risk of injury and he is now an important player at Old Trafford.

All in all, Ralf Rangnick will be hoping all his international stars return free from injury and ready for a fight.

Manchester United look set to finish in a Europa League spot unless some sort of miracle happens.

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